Reportedly, at least two of the key suspects in the Sept. 11, 2012 Benghazi attack were — at some point in time — working with al Qaeda senior leadership.
According to sources close to Catherine Herridge of Fox News, sources said one of the suspects was believed to be a courier for the al Qaeda network, and the other a bodyguard in Afghanistan prior to the 2001 terror attacks.
The direct ties to the al Qaeda senior leadership flies in the face of the faux story perpetuated by the Obama administration that the attackers in Benghazi were isolated “extremists” — not al Qaeda terrorists — who had no organizational structure or affiliation.
The head of the House Intelligence Committee, Chairman Mike Rogers of Michigan, said he would not discuss specific suspects or their backgrounds, but he did say the link to al Qaeda senior leadership, also known as the al Qaeda core, have now been established.
“It is accurate that of the group being targeted by the bureau, at this point, there’s strong Al Qaeda ties,” Rogers told Herridge. “You can still be considered to have strong ties because you are in the ring of operations of Al Qaeda core. … There are individuals that certainly fit that definition.”
Thomas Joscelyn, a senior fellow and counterterrorism expert with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told Herridge that, “more and more ties” are coming to light and “not just to Al Qaeda’s branch in North Africa, but Al Qaeda senior leadership in Pakistan.”
A year ago, Fox News’ Bret Baier was first to report that a former Guantanamo detainee, Sufian bin Qumu, was suspected of training jihadists in eastern Libya for the attack.
Now, Benghazi suspect Faraj al Chalabi, who is also a Libyan national with ties to Osama bin Laden that date all the way back to 1998, is now believed to be a former bodyguard who was with the Al Qaeda leadership in Afghanistan in 2001.
According to reports, after the Benghazi attack, al Chalabi fled to Pakistan where he was held, later returned to Libyan custody and eventually released. He was first publicly identified as a suspected terrorist in 1998 by the regime of former Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi for his alleged role in the murder of a German intelligence official, Silvan Becker and his wife. An Interpol arrest warrant in March 1998 named al Chalabi, two other Libyans and Osama bin Laden himself as suspects.
“Our sources say al Chalabi is suspected of bringing materials from the compound to Benghazi to Al Qaeda senior leadership in Pakistan. It’s not clear what those materials consisted of but he is known to have gone back to Pakistan immediately after the attack,” Joscelyn said.
Rogers disclosed a timeline for the Benghazi attack, which corroborated testimony from Benghazi survivors who testified in front of Congress that significant advance planning was involved in the attack. According to the congressman, there was an “aspirational phase” several months out, where the idea of an attack was thrown around, followed by “weeks” of operational planning, and then the ramp up to the Sept. 11 assault which lasted up to several days. Rogers’ claim is diametrically opposed to the initial Obama administration narrative holding that the attack was “spontaneous.”
“I believe that they had an operational phase that lasted at least a couple of weeks, maybe even longer. And then an initiation phase that lasted a couple or three days prior to the event itself. And so this notion that they just showed up and decided this was a spontaneous act does not comport with the information at least with what we have seen in the intelligence community,” Rogers told Fox News.